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One of the more famous Assault & Battery cases in recent years involved Chris Brown and Rihanna.  They were in a car when they got into an argument, and Brown tried to force her out of the car.  When this tactic failed, he punched her repeatedly, and then threatened to beat her when the couple got home.  However, when Brown thought Rihanna had called the police, he told her he would kill her, and then continued to punch her, bite her and choke her.  Eventually, Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation and six months of community service.



The legal definition of assault varies depending on which state you live, but generally, an assault is defined as: a willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person with an ability to do so.  An assault can also include an intentional display of force that would give the other person a reason to believe that they may suffer bodily harm.  An assault can be committed without actually touching another person.  Real life examples of assault include a gun pointed at someone as a joke. The terrified victim did not know the gun was a replica until she was told. The judgment in this case ruled in favor of the victim since she had, in fact, apprehended immediate physical violence.

Assault & Battery

An Assault & Battery case involves unwanted touching of another person without an excuse or justification. In Massachusetts, the charge of Assault or Assault and Battery carries up to 2 years in jail and a $1,000 fine, and Assault & Battery that causes serious bodily harm is a felony, which can result in up to 5 years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.

Assault & Battery cases can also involve Domestic Assault & Battery, where the parties are married, related, living together or dating.  The rapper Flavor Flav (William Drayton) was arrested in a variety of Assault & Battery cases when he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Trujillo, got into an argument, which quickly became physical.  When Trujillo’s son intervened, Drayton chased him with two knives.  After some negotiation with Las Vegas prosecutors, Drayton was given a year’s probation and instructed to complete a domestic violence course.

Massachusetts law makes special provisions for those most vulnerable in our society, for example, Assault & Battery on a pregnant woman, an elderly or disabled person, a person suffering from an intellectual disability, and a child under 14 year of age.

Defense Strategies 

Depending on the specific facts of your case, a Massachusetts criminal lawyer can work with you to develop a winning strategy.  For instance, motions can be filed, including motions to dismiss for lack of probable cause and motions to suppress evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure.  Also, the possibility always exists to have the charges dropped by the District Attorney or to get the other person to withdraw his/her complaint.  This outcome can be negotiated with the complainant, through restitution, anger management, etc.  In this regard, motions can be filed for Accord & Satisfaction, Fifth Amendment Rights and Spousal Privilege.

Law Office of Elliot Savitz
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